An extraordinary Six Nations 2021 came to a thrilling conclusion in Paris on Friday with a last-gasp 27-23 win for Scotland over title-chasing France.
Duhan van der Merwe’s second try with the last play of the game saw Scotland win in the French capital for the first time in the Six Nations era and resulted in a climb of one place in the World Rugby’s Men’s Rankings to eighth.
France had gone into the match chasing a bonus-point victory by 21 clear points in the hope of securing their first Six Nations title since 2010.
Brice Dulin, Damian Penaud and Swan Rebbadj crossed for the hosts but they were never really in control of the scoreboard against a pumped-up Scotland side.
And Van der Merwe’s tries either side of David Cherry’s 61st effort ensured the Scots defied the loss of Finn Russell to a red card to create their own piece of history.
With the loss of 1.9 rating points, France fall below England and Ireland to fifth in the rankings, with newly-crowned Six Nations 2021 champions Wales just 0.83 of a point behind them in sixth.
Scotland’s improved position comes at the expense of Argentina who fall to ninth.
Portugal rack up a record score
The biggest gain of the weekend was made by Portugal who rise three places to 21st after inflicting a record 43-28 defeat on Spain in the latest round of Rugby Europe Championship 2021 fixtures.
It was Os Lobos’ biggest score in 86 years of playing test rugby against their Iberian rivals and their first win in the last five meetings.
Scrum-half Samuel Marques scored one of Portugal’s six tries, five of which he converted in addition to a penalty, for a personal haul of 18 points.
Rafael Simoes, Jerónimo Portela, Rodrigo Marta, Raffaele Storti and Francisco Fernandes also got their names on the scoresheet against 14-man Spain.
Marco Pinto, Guillaume Rouet, Charlie Malie and Manuel Ordas scored for Los Leones.
But it could have been so much better for Spain, as they were leading 21-7 before Os Lobos scored twice to get back on level terms in the second half. At that point, Fabien Perrin was sent off – Spain’s second red card in as many weeks – and Portugal proceeded to score another 17 points without reply to take the game away from their rivals.
Hong Kong, Canada and Namibia all drop down a place in the rankings as a result of Portugal’s amazing comeback victory, while Spain hang on to 19th.
On Sunday, Georgia also had to play with 14 men after Shalva Mamukashvili’s dismissal midway through the first half, but they pulled through to beat Romania 28-17.
It was Georgia’s fourth straight win of the Rugby Europe Championship 2021 and they now hold a nine-point lead at the top of the table.
Georgia and Romania stay unmoved in the rankings, in 12th and 18th place, respectively.